"No!" Jack barked. "Forget it!"
"Jack..." Daniel started.
"I'm not leaving you alone with these two!" Jack turned on Gabriel and Rea'beka who were standing in the infirmary ten feet from Daniel's bedside. "By all rights I should just kill you both."
"We have come to you peacefully and unarmed." Gabriel replied calmly. "Please, at least hear what I have to say."
"Fine, say what you want and then I will consider kicking your butt back through the Gate...maybe even in one piece."
"I will speak only to Daniel." Gabriel repeated for about the tenth time.
"Jack, if they came here to kill me, they would have done so already."
"I can't believe you even want to hear them out." Jack said stubbornly.
"Then you don't know me very well, Jack." Daniel replied.
"What? That your curiosity is stronger than your common sense?"
"Or maybe you do." Daniel forced a smile.
Jack made a noise of frustration. He glared at Gabriel and Rea'beka. She cowered a bit, however, he seemed unaffected. With a sigh of defeat Jack handed over the sidearm he had taken from the Airman to Daniel.
"If they take one step closer..."
"I'll be okay, Jack." Daniel assured.
"I'll be right outside the do..."
"I'll be fine."
Jack flashed the two intruders one last murderous look. Gabriel bowed deeply, but Jack remained unimpressed. Daniel watched him step out of the door and then he turned his attention on his unexpected visitors. Gabriel went to step closer and Daniel instantly raised the weapon. Putting his hands up peacefully Gabriel took a step back.
"I have not come here to harm you...I thought you knew that."
"Forgive my suspicions." Daniel said icily. "I don't particularly like being out numbered."
"I only asked your friend to leave because I did not want an Ancient present...this is a Niacinian matter."
"What does that have to do with me?"
"Daniel, please, you know by now that you have Niacinian blood." Gabriel replied. "There is no other way that you could carry the knowledge of the Ancients without it driving you insane."
"Who says it hasn't?"
Gabriel said nothing for a moment. Daniel narrowed his eyes and adjusted his aim.
"Rea'beka, I don't know what this creature has told you, but it's all been lies." Daniel announced as he kept his eyes locked on Gabriel. "Despite everything I know you're a good person...but if you continue to stand by his side I will kill you both."
"Daniel, no, please, listen to Gab..."
"He's not Gabriel...I was." Daniel growled. "He's the filthy snake that betrayed him...me...however you want to think about it."
"I betrayed no one." Gabriel said softly. "I took his name when he died to honour him."
"You're a Gou'ald, what do you know of honour?"
"Daniel, pleas..." Rea'beka started.
"Why, why, why, why did you want to free him?" Daniel demanded. "That's what you did, isn't it? He was eventually captured and imprisoned back in the lab. Don't you think that was done for a reason?!"
"He was the savior of my people once. We ne..."
"He's a Gou'ald!" Daniel cried. "You told me yourself you despise them!"
"I do despise the Gou'ald."
"As do I." Gabriel admitted quietly.
"You're the father of them all." Daniel accused.
"Yes...my wayward children."
"Wayward?!" Daniel spat.
Daniel was starting to feel the strain of trying to keep the heavy handgun trained on the Gou'ald. His whole frame tensed as he tried to tell his hand to pull the trigger.
"Daniel, Gabriel, Friend, you are not going to kill me." Gabriel said confidently. "I know you've only seen pieces of the past, I know you don't remember. But in your heart you know, we spent thousands of years together...working to a common goal."
"Never. I would never help spread your kind. I don't care who I was, I'm not that person now."
"I was just doing what I thought was right." Gabriel replied softly. "I was only trying to help."
"You did a great job." Daniel growled.
"Please, lower your weapon. Give me a chance to explain myself. If you think the deeds of the Gou'ald weigh heavy on your heart, imagine what it must be doing to mine."
Daniel grit his teeth in frustration. He wanted to kill Gabriel, but something wouldn't let him murder in cold blood. Closing his eyes briefly against the sting of tears he lowered the weapon, but kept his grip on it.
"Thank you." Rea'beka whispered.
"I will listen...it doesn't mean I'll believe."
"I ask only that you hear me." Gabriel nodded. "I knew that the true Gabriel and I would never free the Niacines from the Ancients on our own. I led him to my home planet. I was hoping to breed with the others, so that they would have my memories, my goals.
However my children were mindless animal, I then realized that at one point I had been one as well. Something about being mixed with Gabriel's DNA had changed me...maybe had given me a soul. I don't really know. My offspring were diffrent, they could not take Niacine hosts as I could. They had knowledge, but they didn't know how to handle it."
"So you left them there to breed...to evolve." Daniel pieced together. "And they eventually learned to take control of the Unas."
"Yes, I let them live because it never occurred to me that they might one day escape." Gabriel said sadly. "In the thousands of years Gabriel and I spent freeing the Niacines, building their doomed civilization, my children were corrupting the Gou'ald of my home world."
"They knew of Gabriel's technology, and of his pain, but I had not been with him long enough to teach them his passion for freedom and life. Once they mixed with the Unas they began to learn of savagery."
"The Unas are a peaceful race." Daniel snapped.
"They still rule over one another by force and power." Gabriel replied. "They got off their world and started to wreck havoc."
"You should have stopped them." Daniel spat. "If they had truly become so twisted in your mind you should have slaughtered them yourself."
"I tried. I failed. They captured Gabriel and I and took us to the one prison they knew we feared the most and knew we could not escape from."
"The abandoned Ancient lab." Daniel sighed.
"Yes." Gabriel nodded. "They left us there to die. There was no food, all of the water was poisoned with salt. There was nothing I could do to keep Gabriel alive. Then I realized that I shouldn't even be trying. Even after thousands of years the lab terrified him, it started to drive him mad just being there. He used what was left of his sanity to construct a stasis jar, in the hopes that one day I would be freed."
Daniel narrowed his eyes, thinking about all that Gabriel had said. Eventually he risked taking his eyes off him to look at Rea'beka.
"How is it that after all of these years you suddenly decided to go looking for him?" Daniel asked suspiciously.
"I have been piecing together my people's broken past all my life." Rea'beka replied. "I was on a dig at one of the first Niacine citi..."
"Whoa...wait...you were on a 'dig'?" Daniel interrupted. "You...you're an archeologist?"
"That's not what we call them in my culture, but yes, basically." Rea'beka admitted. "I found a tablet that told of the Ancient lab and who lay there...but not of its location."
"And that's when you came to me."
"We have been watching the actions of the Tau'ri for many centuries." Rea'beka admitted. "We know more about you than perhaps you know about yourselves."
"And you never thought to help us?" Daniel asked angrily.
"Our numbers are extremely small...and if the Gou'ald even suspected that we still exist they would have stopped at nothing to slaughter what is left of us."
"Okay...fine...I can understand that." Daniel said honestly. "But now that the Gou'ald are all but extinct, why did you steal me? You speak of Niacinain freedom...what of mine? If your goal was so noble why did you drive me over the edge of madness without ever asking for my help?"
"I couldn't take the risk." Rea'beka replied without remorse. "If you had known that it was the first Gou'ald that I sought you'd have closed your mind to me. No matter how much technology I had, you would have never let me see what I needed."
"No, I wouldn't have." Daniel agreed. "I guess the only question I have left is: why have you come back? What more could you possibly want from me?"
Rea'beka looked to Gabriel nervously. He smiled at her the way a father would to reassure a frightened child. Gabriel turned his penetrating green eyes on Daniel.
"I've come to ask you to be host to me once more."
Daniel instantly raised the weapon Jack had given him level with Gabriel's heart.
"Stay away from me!" Daniel snarled darkly. "Jack! Jack, get in here!"
Jack was through the door before Daniel had finished calling for him. Weapon in hand he moved into a position where he could cover both Gabriel and Rea'beka without catching Daniel in the cross fire. Rea'beka whimpered in fear, but Gabriel remained calm as ever.
"Daniel?" Jack asked.
"I will never let you take me as host." Daniel hissed, he turned the gun on his own temple. "I will kill myself if I have to."
"Um...Daniel...could we talk about your tactics?" Jack asked.
"Please, I am not here to force myself upon you." Gabriel said calmly. "I came here to ask for your help. You are the only living soul with all of the knowlage of the Ancients, I ne..."
"Give me one reason I should trust you!"
"Because if you don't, everything is going to die!" Gabriel said, showing true emotion for the first time.
"What are you talking about?"
"The Plague is spreading again." Gabriel announced gravely. "Millions are dead already...billions more will fall."
Daniel stared at Gabriel in horror, he stared back with eyes filled with sorrow. Daniel looked to Rea'beka, tears were streaking down her face. Gabriel lifted his hand slowly and held it out, a symbolic offer for Daniel to take.
"Together is the only hope we have of stopping it."
NOTE from Phoenix: The next book 'Hotwired' will be posted soon. Thank you all for reading thus far! I apreciate it more than you can ever know.